Sydney Secondary College Blackwattle Bay Campus

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Young Women's Leadership seminar

Blackwattle Bay students attend the Young Women’s Leadership Seminar hosted by the NSW Parliament.

On the 8th of March Stella, Elkie, Cecilia and Charlotte had the privilege of attending the Young Women’s Leadership Seminar, hosted by the NSW Parliament.

Seated in the Legislative Assembly Chamber, the four of us heard from Associate Professor Lisa Williams: the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the UNSW Faculty of Science, and a social psychologist whose research explores emotions. In a keynote speech full of character, Lisa Williams outlined the highs and lows of her career, assessing how her identity as a woman shaped her choices and experiences throughout. She also delved into how stereotypes inhibit women in the workplace, and why men are more likely to apply for roles they aren’t qualified for, sharing the key advice of “fake it ‘till you make it”.

Afterwards, a panel of female parliamentarians from Liberal, Labour, The Greens, and One Nation answered the room’s questions, describing their experiences as women in parliament, and sharing opinions on how to make politics a more inclusive field for all. One thing that stood out to me was the amount of collaboration which occurs across party lines between women in politics. The panel described regular meetings of all female parliamentarians to discuss gender-based issues.

Both Professor Lisa Williams and the parliamentarians put emphasis on the importance of having a support system while taking on leadership roles and striving for change, and that women are more likely to seek this collaborative route for leadership.

Overall, the day was an extremely insightful experience which gave me a deeper understanding of systemic challenges faced by women, particularly in the workplace, as well as strategies that have been used to overcome these struggles.